It’s one of the first questions we ask, once the romance of the proposal and the reality of the future has set in. So, how much does a wedding cost? The answer, of course, is that it depends on the type of wedding you want and how many people you invite. We found out the average costs of a wedding, from the venue to the dress, in our annual survey, and how a popular trend could save you money on your wedding.
Average Cost of a Wedding
According to our annual survey of over 2,000 UK brides-to-be, the average cost of a wedding is now £15,000 with almost a quarter of all couples telling us they spent £10-15k on their big day.
Average Amount Spent on a Wedding Dress
The average cost of a wedding dress is £1,000, with over a third of brides telling us they spent between £500 and £1,000 and a further 26% saying they spent £1,000-£1,500 on their dress. Only 2% of brides spent under £100 on an off-the-peg or ‘pre-loved dress’ and only 2% spent more than £2,500 on a couture bridal gown.
Although a third of couples spent up to £1,000 on a professional wedding photographer, with a further 25% spending between £1,000 and £1,500, 12% of couples admitted that they had not booked a photographer at all and simply asked friends to take their photos, a risky move! The average cost of a wedding photographer, for this reason, is £700.
The wedding venue can often be one of the largest costs in a wedding budget, particularly as many venues can be hired exclusively for the day or overnight. The average amount spent on wedding venue hire is £4,000, with around a fifth of couples spending up to this amount and almost a quarter spending just over this figure.
Feeding guests is another of the largest costs and when it comes to wedding catering, almost a quarter of couples spent £3,000 or more on food, with just 10% saying they paid under £500, making the average cost £1,800 (excluding the wedding cake and drinks).
The average amount spent by couples on wedding drinks is £1,200 with almost 10% of couples having a pay bar where guests pay for their own drinks. Only 6% of couples said they spent over £2,000 on their wedding reception drinks.
Whether it’s a DJ, a live band or string quartet, a surprising 10% of couples said they were having a friend or family member provide their wedding entertainment making the average amount spent on entertainment at a wedding £500. Only 15% said they were paying a professional £1,000 or more.
All figures from UK Wedding Statistics.
Who Pays for the Wedding?
It’s probably going to be the largest celebration of your life with the most guests so it’s important to make it the wedding you want – but without starting married life together in debt. If you plan it yourself and set a realistic budget then that is possible.
It depends who is hosting the wedding and traditionally this would have been the bride’s parents. These days it’s more common for the bride and groom to host the wedding themselves, send out the invitations with their names on for replies and to pay for the majority of the cost, often with a contribution from either the bride’s parents or both sets of parents.
How to Have a Cheaper Wedding
“Over half of weddings now feature some homemade element, with an incredible 56% of brides making their own wedding invitations, table planners and thank you cards, and 62% making their own favours. The trend for homemade weddings is definitely on the rise and lower overall wedding costs can be attributed partly to this. ” Kate Thompson, Confetti.co.uk
Most couples don’t want to have a ‘cheap wedding’ as such, or certainly don’t want it to seem that way but we do have a lot of couples ask us how they can spend less on their big day and still have a wonderful celebration.
If you are planning a wedding on a tight budget then it’s worth a try at negotiating lower deals with some wedding suppliers. You could save thousands on an amazing venue if you simply book on a weekday, out of peak season or take advantage of one of their late availability deals.
The one thing I’d always advise against cutting out of your budget is a professional photographer. With smart phones everyone thinks they’re the next David Bailey but there’s a lot more to capturing a day you can’t repeat. It’s often a cost that many brides and grooms feel they can do without but almost always regret once the day is over and the memories start to fade. There are several ways you can definitely cut costs without compromising on style:
How to spend less on your wedding
1. Get married later in the day (so you pay for one meal instead of two.)
2. Invite fewer guests (just ask close family and friends.)
3. Make your own wedding invitations, venue and table decorations, even your dress, cake and bouquets can all be homemade. It’s fashionable and there are so many Wedding DIY tutorials that it’s simple, and can be a lot of fun.
4. Book your venue with a late availability deal.
5. Get married on a weekday out of peak season (so avoid mid-summer, Valentine’s Day and Christmas.)
How to Plan a Luxury Wedding
If you have a larger budget to play with and you’re planning a luxury wedding, either abroad or in this country, then it’s worth hiring a professional wedding planner or stylist.
The beauty of hiring a wedding planner is that you can simply tell them exactly what you want and they’ll work with you to achieve your dream. While a planner will plan the whole wedding, a stylist will style and decorate the venues. Most wedding planners include styling but not all wedding stylists include planning so it’s worth speaking to more than one before you hire them to make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for.
You might prefer to plan your own luxury wedding with inspiration from these latest wedding articles or the weddings abroad experts, and you can find out more about my paradise island luxury wedding abroad experience.
So, how much does a wedding cost? As much as you decide you can spend on it, unless you’d both prefer to simply elope! Find out How Much Does it cost to be a Bridesmaid?